|Número de publicación||US20060103633 A1|
|Tipo de publicación||Solicitud|
|Número de solicitud||US 11/058,514|
|Fecha de publicación||18 May 2006|
|Fecha de presentación||14 Feb 2005|
|Fecha de prioridad||17 Nov 2004|
|También publicado como||EP1812927A2, WO2006055674A2, WO2006055674A3|
|Número de publicación||058514, 11058514, US 2006/0103633 A1, US 2006/103633 A1, US 20060103633 A1, US 20060103633A1, US 2006103633 A1, US 2006103633A1, US-A1-20060103633, US-A1-2006103633, US2006/0103633A1, US2006/103633A1, US20060103633 A1, US20060103633A1, US2006103633 A1, US2006103633A1|
|Cesionario original||Atrua Technologies, Inc.|
|Exportar cita||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Citada por (48), Clasificaciones (14), Eventos legales (1)|
|Enlaces externos: USPTO, Cesión de USPTO, Espacenet|
This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) of the co-pending U.S. provisional application Ser. No. 60/629,169, filed on Nov. 17, 2004, and titled “INTELLIGENT TOUCH INPUT MODULE.” The provisional application Ser. No. 60/629,169, filed on Nov. 17, 2004, and titled “INTELLGENT TOUCH INPUT MODULE,” is hereby incorporated by reference.
The present invention relates to electronic input devices. More particularly, the present invention relates to systems for and methods of customizing fingerprint sensors and mechanical controls to provide inputs to electronic devices.
Finger sensors are now used on an ever increasing number of electronic devices. On some electronic devices, for example, finger sensors have replaced mechanical controls, such as buttons and knobs. The use of finger sensors to replace mechanical controls, however, has several drawbacks. For example, finger sensors do not have the tactile feel that users of electronic devices, such as electronic games, enjoy. These users enjoy the feel of pushing a button, turning a steering wheel, or twisting a dial. Furthermore, many applications require some actions that are better enabled with a finger sensor while others are better served by mechanical controls such as dials, slide switches, and the like.
One alternative to using exclusively finger sensors or exclusively mechanical controls is to combine the two. Systems that combine finger sensors and mechanical controls use the two independently. The finger sensor is used to perform one function and the mechanical control is used to perform a second, independent function. The number of functions, along with the lack of interaction, provided by such independent controls is inadequate for many applications.
Systems that combine a finger sensor and a mechanical control also suffer because the outputs from the sensor and the mechanical control must be specifically tailored to the electronic device that incorporates them. For example, a first input module that combines a finger sensor and a push button to operate a mobile telephone must have two interfaces that independently translate the outputs from the finger sensor and the push button into data usable by applications executing on the mobile telephone. A second input module that combines a finger sensor and a switch to operate a digital camera must have separate interfaces that independently translate the outputs from the finger sensor and the switch into data usable by applications executing on the digital camera. These translations (and thus interfaces) are unique since the architecture of these products are different and applications executing on a mobile phone are generally different from those executing on a digital camera.
This need for unique, independent interfaces has many limitations in product design and application development resulting in a shortfall of overall appeal of multi-functional products to consumers.
The present invention is directed to systems for and methods of customizing device interfaces. The device interfaces couple interface modules, which comprise a user interface having a finger sensor and mechanical components, to an underlying electronic device. In accordance with the present invention, any number of user interfaces are able to be selected, based on their look and function, and are coupled to an electronic device. A user thus has more options in selecting how to use an electronic device. Moreover, this customization allows a manufacturer to increase the number of functions that the electronic device, controlled using the user interface, can perform. For example, the user interface is able to be customized so that applications executing on the electronic device are able to recognize and differentiate between more combinations of inputs from the user interface.
In a first aspect of the present invention, a system for providing an input to an electronic device comprises a user interface for receiving user input, coupled to a device interface. The user interface comprises a finger sensor and a mechanical input component. The device interface is configured to selectively map an output of the user interface to an input for the electronic device. The mechanical input component includes any one or more of a push button, a scroll wheel, a joy stick, a touch pad, a switch, a dial, and a pressure sensor. The input for the electronic device corresponds to a cooperative mapping of the output of the finger sensor and the output of the mechanical input component.
In a preferred embodiment, the input for the electronic device corresponds to a function supported by an application program executing on the electronic device. The function includes any one of scrolling through a list of telephone numbers, selecting a telephone number, and automatically dialing a selected telephone number. In one embodiment, the electronic device is a game device, and the function includes any one of generating a computer game display and controlling the game display. In another embodiment, the electronic device is a digital camera, and the function includes any one of focusing the digital camera and capturing a picture on the digital camera. Preferably, the user interface and the device interface are configured to form an integrated module with the electronic device.
In one embodiment, the device interface comprises a memory containing a sequence of executable program instructions for mapping the output of the user interface to the input for the electronic device. Alteratively, the device interface comprises an application specific integrated circuit configured to map the output of the user interface to the input for the electronic device.
In another embodiment, the system further comprises an authentication unit coupled to the finger sensor. The authentication unit authenticates a user using finger image data read by the finger sensor. In another embodiment, the input for the electronic device depends on a context of the application program.
Preferably, the finger sensor is a swipe sensor, such as an optical sensor, a thermal sensor, or a capacitive sensor. Alternatively, the finger sensor is a placement sensor.
In another embodiment, the user interface further comprises any one or more of an LED, an LCD panel, a back light, and a speaker.
In a preferred embodiment, the system further comprises an electronic device coupled to the device interface. The electronic device is any device controllable by the user interface, such as a mobile telephone, a portable computer, a digital camera, a portable game system, a game controller, a personal digital assistant, a digital audio player, and a digital video player.
In a second aspect of the present invention, a system comprises an electronic device, a finger sensor for receiving a first input to control the electronic device, and a mechanical input portion for receiving a second input to control the electronic device. The finger sensor and the mechanical input portion are configured to operate cooperatively with each other to control the electronic device.
In a third aspect of the present invention, a method of configuring an electronic system comprises selecting a user interface comprising a finger sensor and a mechanical component; selecting an electronic device; and configuring a device interface between the user interface and the electronic device. The device interface is configured to cooperatively map an output from the finger sensor and an output from the mechanical component to an output for controlling an application executing on the electronic device.
In accordance with the present invention, an electronic housing containing a user interface is able to be integrated with any number of electronic devices, such as a mobile telephone, a digital camera, a game device, and a game controller. Preferably, the user interface contains input components, including a finger sensor and one or more mechanical input components, such as a push button, a scroll wheel, a joy stick, a touch pad, a dial, and a pressure sensor. The user interface is configured to provide to a host system electronic signals, data, and control information corresponding to electronic signals, data, and control information generated by a user input device. Alternatively, the user interface also contains output components such as speakers, light emitting diode (LED) displays, and liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Using a method of the present invention, a user is able to select a housing to suit his particular needs, select an electronic device, and then have an interface between the housing and the electronic device customized so that the user interface provides the functions needed or supported by the electronic device and the applications running on it. A user is thus able to select housings based on their look and feel, the types and number of input components they have, or any other criteria.
Embodiments of the present invention are able to be used with many application programs including, but not limited to, a telephone application program, a game application program, and a digital camera application program, all of which support various functions. For example, the telephone application program supports the functions of displaying a list of telephone numbers, scrolling through the list, selecting a telephone number in the list, and automatically dialing the selected telephone number.
In accordance with the present invention, a user is able to choose a product with a desirable housing having a finger sensor and a push button as part of the user interface. The user then selects a mobile telephone as the electronic device because he wishes to use the electronic device to store phone lists and then dial phone numbers selected from the phone list. A first device interface between the user interface and the mobile phone is then customized so that the finger sensor is used to scroll through the phone list and the push button is used to automatically dial a selected telephone number. Still in accordance with the present invention, the user selects a second product with a housing having the same user interface, but selects a digital camera as the electronic device, having different requirements of the user interface. In one embodiment, the finger sensor is now used to focus the lens of the digital camera. In this embodiment, the device interface is now customized so that the finger sensor controls the focus of the lens as needed. As described in more detail below, customizing the device interface in accordance with the present invention comprises mapping each component of a user interface (e.g., an output of a finger sensor, of a push button, of a scroll wheel, etc.) to a particular function used by the electronic device or an application executing on the electronic device. Preferably this mapping is performed by software but alternatively is performed by hardware components such as an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC).
The present invention allows device interfaces to be customized when the electronic device is assembled, allowing the electronic devices to be paired with any number of suitable housings having any number of device interfaces. This flexibility reduces production time and costs and eliminates the need for a universal device interface that may not be optimal to fit a particular application. This mapping also allows greater flexibility in what functions the user interface can support. For example, a finger sensor and a mechanical input component are able to be mapped to more functions. As one example, swiping a finger sensor on the user interface maps to one function (e.g., authenticate the identity of a user, verifying that he has the right to use a mobile telephone), swiping the finger sensor while pressing a push button maps to another function (e.g., scroll through a phone list displayed on the mobile telephone), and pressing the push button alone maps to another function (e.g., dial a selected telephone number). Thus, embodiments of the present invention allow a finger sensor and a mechanical input component to be used cooperatively, in conjunction with one another, to increase the number of available functions supported by a user interface.
The mobile telephone 100 has a lid 105 coupled to a hand set 113. The lid 105 contains a display screen 101 displaying a list of names and corresponding home and telephone numbers generated by the telephone application program. The hand set 113 comprises a user interface module 110 and a bottom section 115, which contains a number pad 116. The user interface module 110 comprises a user interface 106 and a customized device interface (not shown). The device interface couples the user interface 106 to the telephone application program. As described in more detail below, the device interface is customized in accordance with the present invention.
The user interface 106 comprises user interface components including a finger sensor 102, a left arrow button 103, and a right arrow button 104. Each user interface component is mapped to a function executed by the telephone application program.
Table 1 in
Still referring to
The structure used to map components of the user interface to corresponding functions can be configured in many ways. Preferably, the mappings (e.g., translations) are performed by one or more software programs stored in a memory of the customizable device interface 117. Alternatively, the mappings are formed as part of an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) configured during assembly of the mobile telephone 100. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the mapping can be performed in any number of ways.
In accordance with the present invention, an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is able to use the same user interface 106, package it in a different housing, and use it in another product, such as an electronic game. The OEM merely customizes a device interface in accordance with the present invention to package a selected housing containing a user interface with any number of electronic devices.
It will be appreciated that a single electronic device is able to be used to perform any number of functions. For example, in one embodiment the mobile telephone 100 of
The present invention is also able to map activating (e.g., pressing or swiping) a finger sensor, a mechanical button, or both, to a function depending on the context. For example, when an electronic device is first powered on, a finger sensor is able to be mapped to the function of authenticating the user to determine whether he is to be allowed access to the electronic device. Later, when the electronic device is executing a game program, the finger sensor can be mapped to emulate a steering wheel.
In a preferred embodiment, the customized device API 305 corresponds to a customized device interface in accordance with the present invention. In this embodiment, the customized device API 305 translates a function normally associated with a user interface component into a function required by an application program. Thus, for example, if a finger sensor is used to emulate a steering wheel, the system function associated with the finger sensor is mapped to a function associated with the steering wheel. For example, if the architecture 300 passes messages to signify the occurrence of a steering wheel movement, the finger sensor's component output data is mapped to a message that the application thread 303 recognizes as generated by a steering wheel. Alternatively, the architecture can use event generation or other methods to recognize the occurrence of a steering wheel movement.
In one example of operation, a finger sensor is used to emulate a steering wheel to be used on game device. In this example, a user swipes his finger on a finger sensor that forms part of the peripheral hardware 317, which the device driver 315 uses to generate component output data. The kernel 309 in conjunction with the user library 307 translates this component output data to application input data (e.g., a system function) recognizable as that generated by a finger sensor. The customized device API 305 translates this application input data into that recognizable as generated by a steering wheel. This application input data is then transmitted to the application thread 303, such as a car racing application program, which uses the input data to emulate turning the steering wheel.
The customized device API 305 is able to be loaded when a device containing the customized architecture 300 is configured, such as at an OEM. In accordance with the invention, a single component, such as the user interface 106, is able to be installed on many different products, and the mapping of its input components determined when the functioning of (e.g., the application programs executing on) the electronic device is determined. Thus, for example, if the input module 106 (
It will be appreciated that not all interface components on a user interface must be mapped to a corresponding function. Some user interface components may have no function when assembled on an electronic device.
It will also be appreciated that components in the architecture 300 are able to be implemented in other ways. For example, in one embodiment, the device driver 315 is used to map component output data into data that is ultimately recognized by the application thread 303 as application input data for a function supported by the application thread 303. In one embodiment, the device driver is implemented as an ASIC.
In accordance with embodiments of the present invention, output displays such as the speaker 435 (
By customizing a device interface in accordance with the present invention, electronic devices are able to be coupled with face plates having many combinations of interface components. A system and method in accordance with the present invention thus allow OEMs to use off-the-shelf application programs and device drivers, merely requiring that they customize the device interface. Such minimum modifications save time and money and allow electronic devices to use any number of ready-made application programs and device drivers on the market.
Systems and methods in accordance with the present invention also offer more combinations of interface components to be mapped to functions executable on the electronic device. The number of functions supported by, and thus the capabilities of, the electronic device is extended.
It will be appreciated that many variations can be made to the embodiments of the present invention. For example, while the above embodiments describe stand-alone systems, other electronic devices, such as a game controller, such as, but not limited to, the XBOX™, Nintendo Game Cube™, Sony PS, and Sony PS2, are able to be configured in accordance with the present invention. Other output components, such as back lights and LCD panels, are able to form part of the user interface. And while swipe finger sensors, such as capacitive, thermal, and optical sensors, are described in the embodiments above, placement sensors can also be used. It will be readily apparent to one skilled in the art that various modifications may be made to the embodiments without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
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|Clasificación cooperativa||H04M1/72544, G06F2203/0339, G06F3/03547, H04M1/274525, H04M2250/22, H04M2250/12, H04M1/274508, H04M1/72522, G06F2203/0338|
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|14 Feb 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ATRUA TECHNOLOGIES, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:GIOELI, ANTHONY;REEL/FRAME:016281/0182
Effective date: 20050211